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Old September 27, 2011, 09:09 PM   #1
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# Of Rounds Fired In Self-Defense?

Anyone have a source showing the most number of rounds fired in a civilian self-defense shooting?
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Old September 27, 2011, 10:59 PM   #2
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Are you looking to justify you carry enough ammo or magazines?

Or how many rounds fired is acceptable and still be classified as self defense?

Just wanting a bit more.... info to narrow down and make it more pertinent to what you are seeking.

As for how many rounds is the most... ???? Would this include police officers or only private citizens?

Between 1987 and 1990, David McDowall found that guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,615 times annually.[61] This equates to two times out of 1,000 incidents (0.2%) that occurred in this time frame.[61] For violent crimes (assault, robbery, and rape), guns were used 0.83% of the time in self-defense.[61] Of the times that guns were used in self-defense, 71% of the crimes were committed by strangers, with the rest of the incidents evenly divided between offenders that were acquaintances or persons well-known to the victim.[61] Of all incidents where a gun was used for self-defense, victims shot at the offender 28% of the time.[61] In 20% of the self-defense incidents, the guns were used by police officers.[61] During this same time period, 1987 and 1990, there were 46,319 gun homicides,[62] and the National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that 2,628,532 nonfatal crimes involving guns occurred.[61]
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Old September 27, 2011, 11:07 PM   #3
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While it may not be reasonable to try to compare shooting for civilians and New York City police officers, this info I found does show that there have been incidents where more than 5 rounds by law enforcement officers were fired (these shots in an incident may have been fired by more than one officer).

This bar chart from the NYC police department's 2007 Firearm Discharge Report shows that in 42% of the 45 incidents more than 5 shots were fired.

With police often operating in pairs and with back-up arriving at an incident in progress, multiple officers as shooters seems more likely to me than in a civilian defense incident. This would mean that a single civilian would have to fire the number of rounds needed to neutralize a threat. I would think that distances in civilian involved shootings would be greater than police shootings. Civilians do not make traffic stops, conduct street "stop and frisk" and other interviews which require police to get close to unknown risk individuals.

In civilian life you can usually go by the rule "When in doubt don't." However, in law enforcement that rule does not work. All traffic stops are unknown risk, or doubt filled.

I hope someone can find some good data on civilian self-defense shootings.
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Old September 28, 2011, 09:25 AM   #4
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Things have changed

Early in my LE career, I had the privilege of training with NYPD at their Rodman's Neck outdoor facility. At the time, and according to their research, the average gunfight was two point something rounds in two point something seconds. Average number of rounds fired has increased dramatically with the introduction of semi-autos. However, aberrational gunfights such as the North Hollywood bank robbery or the FBI Miami shootout of 1986 can distort rounds fired statistics.

I think relying on police use of firearms can be misleading for CCW civilians. A spare magazine is needed, not so much for additional ammo but to have a fresh magazine available in the event it becomes necessary to discard the magazine in the gun while clearing a stoppage. Also, CCWs are not supposed to pursue gunmen, or deal with barricaded gunmen. The vast majority of armed street trash will flee upon meeting armed resistance. They won't hang around to see who runs out of ammo first. One reload should be sufficient for CCWs but not for LEOs, tactical and entry teams.
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Old September 28, 2011, 09:40 AM   #5
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I can't remember who said it, but I remember an instructor saying that the spare mags were not for the incident but for the drive home.
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Old September 28, 2011, 09:44 AM   #6
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The best info I've seen:

ZERO shots fired 28% of the time. The average and median was 2 shots fired.

"Overall, shots were fired by the defender in 72% of incidents. The average and median number of shots fired was 2. When more than 2 shots were fired, it generally appeared that the defender's initial response was to fire until empty. It appears that revolver shooters are more likely to empty their guns than autoloader shooters. At least one assailant was killed in 34% of all incidents. At least one assailant was wounded in an additional 29% of all incidents. Of the incidents where shots are fired by a defender, at least one assailant is killed in 53% of those incidents."
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:02 AM   #7
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Tom Givens' DVD Lessons from the Street, available from Rangemaster, contains an analysis of just under five dozen actual incidents that involved civilians acting in self defense.
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:03 AM   #8
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The problem with averages is that if you look at the chart above from Mello, the average shots per incident would only be 2 or 3 rounds. However if you tally the numbers you'll also notice that 6 or more shots were needed a whopping 40% of the time, and 25% of the time 8 or more shots were fired. The problem is the standard deviation is so large that the average is a pretty meaningless number. For the average to be of much use you need a low standard deviation and some form of normality. Shooting statistics lack both. Of course chaos theory throws stats out the window anyhow and nowhere does chaos theory apply more than today's real world, the past simply does not predict the future.
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:15 AM   #9
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Mello's charts are also police encounters, not self defense. As he mentioned, probably not particularly relevant to SD incidents.

The Armed Citizen Analysis I linked to above was a study of 482 actual SD incidents. More than 2 shots were essentially NEVER needed in those 482 incidents, unless you count a security guard killing a lion....

"when more than 2 shots were fired, it generally appeared that the defenders initial reaction was to fire until empty."
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Old September 28, 2011, 02:03 PM   #10
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I would think that police officers and civillians are not a good match. In most instances a police officer is probably in a situation where they are aware they may have to shoot and they are in a protected position and then shots ring out back and forth. Maybe at a fair distance.
A civilian is more often attacked up close before shooting. One or two shots or the bad guy wins.
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Old September 28, 2011, 04:03 PM   #11
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I can't remember who said it, but I remember an instructor saying that the spare mags were not for the incident but for the drive home.
He apparently was never involved in a significant shootout with multiple badguys who came prepared to fight. When it happens and people are not ready, those not ready often suffer. It happens time and time again.

The Armed Citizen Analysis I linked to above was a study of 482 actual SD incidents. More than 2 shots were essentially NEVER needed in those 482 incidents, unless you count a security guard killing a lion....
That isn't what the study said. It did not state how many shots were needed at all and did state that usually if more than two were fired that the gun was fired until empty.

As for the security guard killing the lion, I don't know how you could have misread the information that badly. He wasn't the only person to fire more than 2 shots. He wasn't even the only person to need to reload. He was one of three people who had to reload!!!!!

You also missed a VERY CRITICAL point of the study. The study was ONLY of successful outcomes.
6) This analysis does not present a view of the totality of armed self-defense in that non-positive outcomes were not available for inclusion in the database.
There certainly may have been people who needed more ammo, didn't have it, and died or otherwise lost the fight.

Here are some other successful outcomes. One does involve a cop who had been stabbed multiple times.

Joe Horn's shooting required 3 shots. He was against 2 individuals.

Shot "several" times...

Shot 4 times...

15 rounds shot (but I think only 6 hit)...

Intruder shot 4 times, killed, with pink gun by beauty queen...

Shot multiple times...

5 shots killing 1 and wounding another would be rapists...

4 shots...

Gun emptied into attacker after being stabbed...

Shot 4 times....

Shot the bad guy 7 times, but still died (discussed previously here on TFL)

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, people need as much ammo as they need and it isn't always just 1 or 2 shots. Something else to keep in mind is that people sometimes do empty their guns into their attackers. Why? Because the attackers are not going down or continue to press the assault. There is often very good reason for firing that many shots.
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Old September 28, 2011, 05:00 PM   #12
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In addition to the ones DNS mentioned, this month's Armed Citizen column discusses a man fending off 4 home invaders with 8 shots.

This shooting involved an off-duty police officer, who had a legal obligation to intervene in the robbery that a CHL would not have; but he fired 10 shots.

CHL holder and fellow gun-nut attempts to halt jewely heist with 5-shot snubby. He ran it dry; but luckily for him the badguys were more interested in getting out of the area than fighting.
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Old September 30, 2011, 05:45 PM   #13
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I mean this to be directed at civilians and off duty Officers/Deputies.
While I often carry a Glock 22 off duty, I have carried a SAA, with extra ammo.
I just don't, at this point, think I need to carry 45 rounds of ammo off duty. I might change my mind if I have enough facts to convince me that I do need more than 8 or 10 rounds total. I believe that a civilian self-defense shooting is more closely related to an off duty shooting than an on duty shooting. I could be convinced to change my mind about that too(?) I like to believe that I’ll base my habit on facts.
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Old September 30, 2011, 06:31 PM   #14
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The problem that I have seen with these statistics is that they often include things like suicide, domestic violence, gang shootouts and things like that. They might even include mob hits for all I know...

What I'm really interested in are burglaries, armed roberries / muggings, carjacking and things like that. Basically, the stuff that I would most likely encounter.
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Old September 30, 2011, 06:34 PM   #15
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The most ever fired? The 105 rounds fired by Harry Beckwith has to at lest be in the top 10.
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Old September 30, 2011, 06:35 PM   #16
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how about Eleven .40 S&W?

This link is to a video on the FrontSight page. I am not advertising for FrontSight; just thought this video answers the question of number of rounds and whether you should carry while at home. Pay attention to where his gun usually is and where it was at the time of the incident.
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Old September 30, 2011, 07:44 PM   #17
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My personal take is that I have a Glock 20 with 5 mags...two in a mag carrier and one in the pistol at all times.
Two more mags are in my nightstand....loaded. My bedroom door is rather unique...lets just say it gives me an advantage if needed.
I'd rather be Over-gunned than Under-gunned.

My front door has a Glock Peep...kinda lets anyone coming to it what they're in for.

Of course, if they get past the dogs and the alligator ponds & the signs saying ALLIGATOR FARM, DO NOT ENTER!,
the Glock Peep might not scare 'em much...

My wifey being a Retired Marine, should...heck, I'm the NICE one, I might actually render aid afterwards...
the only aid she's likely to give is Grace. (That's also known as a finishing shot)
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Old October 1, 2011, 10:37 AM   #18
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Post #15 has got it. Amazing story!
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Old October 1, 2011, 01:18 PM   #19
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I tend to agree with federali's comments and thoughts.

Reviewing such information probably requires some situational context in order to be useful for many folks. Sheer statistics can be bewildering and may not be applied in the most relevant and effective manner by someone.

I've known a number of folks who have been involved in on-duty & off-duty shootings, and as an instructor I've had an opportunity to learn of many more.

Sometimes as few as 1 or 2 rounds have been fired and successfully resolved the situation, sometimes more. Situational context and specific circumstances vary.

When I retired I was carrying an issued compact .45 that carried 7+1 rounds. Prior to that I was carrying various other issued pistols (9mm, .40 S&W & .45) that had capacities ranging from 8, 9, 12, 14 & 15 rounds at one time or another. If I wasn't carrying one of the issued weapons off-duty, I was carrying one of my own, which meant I had magazine capacities of 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 12 rounds ... or carrying a revolver with 5 or 6 round capacity.

Now that I'm retired I still carry pistols with magazine capacities of 6-12 rounds, with 8-10 rounds being the most common capacity range ... and I carry one of my several 5-shot .38's more often than not.

I do, however, spend a fair amount of time continuing to maintain my skillset, by keeping my hand in things as a firearms instructor and attending various training related to such issues. Shooting has been considered to be a perishable skill, so it pays to not only develop and refine it, but to work to maintain it, as well.

I've never denigrated another cop (or CCW licensee) for choosing to carry a handgun with higher capacity than what I choose to carry. Not my choice to make, or my business (generally).

My concern lies in their skillset, mindset, familiarity with their chosen (or required) dedicated defensive weapon, how well it's maintained, their familiarity and ability to safely use a chosen carry method and how well they maintain their understanding of the laws involving the use of deadly force, etc.

Now, this subject is one of those perennial topics which often generates any number of divergent opinions among folks who frequent online firearms forums. No problem. Opinions abound.

Experiences abound, too ... and it's not uncommon to find that the experiences of many folks don't necessarily conform to that of other folks.

I have noticed that there are any number of private persons (non-LE) who choose to go about their daily activities, being lawfully armed, and who choose to carry more ammunition & spare magazines than many cops may carry on-duty. Sometimes even more guns. Their business (presuming it's legal within their jurisdictions, of course).

I just hope they've invested at least as much attention and consideration to their skillset, level of training, sufficiently frequent practice, weapon & carry method maintenance and knowledge of the relevant laws ... as they have to how many magazines and how much ammunition they feel they should carry on their person.

It might also be prudent to remember the responsibility involved for each and every round fired, and the potential for unexpected and undesired consequences to result when/if a round hits someone/something other than the intended target (or even the "intended target" if the circumstances are later determined to be such that it wasn't actually lawful to shoot).

Having a lot of rounds at hand might be helpful, but it might also allow someone to make more mistakes at a faster rate.

Just my thoughts.

Some individual risk assessment, informed decision-making, common sense and prudence can go a long way, at times.
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Old October 3, 2011, 06:55 PM   #20
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I have 34 years in Law Enforcement. I shoot at least one match a month. I regularly carry a Colt's SAA with a couple of extra rounds. If a person feels they need a 15 shot Semi-auto and 2 or 3 extra mags that's fine with me. I was in 6 standup gunfights in my career and never fired more than 4 rounds.
I don't feel under gunned with a SAA. If I knew I was going to be in a fight I'd take a shotgun, wouldn't we all?
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Old October 3, 2011, 09:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Shotgun693 View Post
If I knew I was going to be in a fight I'd take a shotgun, wouldn't we all?
No sir. If I knew I was going to be in a gunfight, I wouldn't go.
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Old October 4, 2011, 08:30 AM   #22
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I was in 6 standup gunfights in my career and never fired more than 4 rounds.
If six makes you comfortable that is great.

I've got a civillian friend that has been in one gun fight. That fight required seven shots. If I remember correctly five shots hit in the trunk of the attacker's body. One hit a tree across the street and one was lodged in the head rest of the attacker's truck.

The attacker pulled up got out of his truck and stood behind the door. Then he opened fire. Not a normal scenario, but it has happened.

I have had to draw three times. I have never had to fire a single shot. It is all a crap shoot. The most or the least don't matter. What matters is having enough for the situation you're in.

I think we all agree on that one.
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